Thursday, 7 July 2022

A brewer writes

This is a follow up to the post a few days back on an adulteration case.  A brewer politely points out what bollocks Mr. Wanklyn was talking.

I'm still baffled as to how Wanklyn could say that he had never come across a beer with a gravity below 1060º. All I can say, is that he can't have analysed many beers. Even in London, where beers tended to be stronger, the majority of what was brewed was below 1060º.

Sir, —My attention has been directed to certain prosecutions of an extraordinary character, and, so far as I am aware, the first of the on record, which have lately been instituted by the Buckinghamshire Police Authorities against numerous publicans throughout that county for selling beer containing, as it is alleged, water added to it after and therefore, it is contended, " not being of the nature, substance, and quality of the article demanded by the purchaser." And as this is a question seriously affecting the reputation and interests of the whole trade, I venture to call public attention to the subject. The beers, in respect of which these charges have been made are, as I understand, such as are usually sold at a wholesale price of from 34 to 36 shillings per barrel, and at retail price of fourpence per quart. In two of the cases tried last week before different benches of magistrates Mr. Wanklyn, the County Analyst, on whose report these prosecutions were founded, admitted in cross-examination that, with a view to determine whether water had been added to the beer after fermentation, he had set for himself and assumed an arbitrary standard of original specific gravity, namely 1060 degrees, below which he declared it to be his opinion that no genuine beer can be brewed, and he stated that by calculations founded on that basis he came to the conclusion that the beers in question were not genuine beers. But, considering that there is no fixed or recognised standard of strength which determines the limit at which beer ceases to be genuine, and below which it is illegal to brew or sell beer for the consumption of the public (unless indeed the Excise Tables issued by the Board of Inland Revenue, which go as low as 1025, be accepted as an authority), it certainly does seem somewhat presumptuous in Mr. Wanklyn to attempt to impose upon the brewers of this country a standard of his own invention, which shall determine the particular degree of specific gravity at which beers shall cease to be genuine, and consequently shall cease to be "of the nature, substance, and quality of the article demanded by the purchaser." In one of the cases tried last week the original specific gravity of the beer in question was, according to Mr. Wanklyn, 1044.8 degrees, and he himself acknowledged that he had omitted to make the usual allowance for acetic acid and for possible errors, which would have brought these figures up to at least 1047. For my present purpose, however, I will take no account of these, or any other errors in his analysis, and will assume that the actual original specific gravity was 1044.8 as he said. Now to show the incorrectness, and I may say absurdity, of his contention, that beer of original specific of 1044.8 is not genuine beer, and that genuine beer cannot be brewed under an original specific gravity of 1060 I need only state as a matter of fact (which can be confirmed by the Excise Department of the Inland Revenue at Somerset House) that plenty of ales brewed at Burton and elsewhere for exportation, whose quality is subjected to the severest tests, are of an original specific gravity of 1,045, and frequently considerably lower than this; and all of these ales are recognized as genuine beers, and the drawback of duty allowed upon them by the Board of Inland Revenue. I may also add that the mild and bitter ales of a large brewery firm (of which I am partner) the wholesale price of which are 34s. and 36s. per barrel, and the strength and quality similar to the ales sold in Buckinghamshire and the neighbouring counties, are of original specific gravities ranging from 1043 to 1048. Of course the strength of all ales varies somewhat from time to time, according to the prices of malt and hops ; for the requirements of the public and the severity of competition entirely prohibit rise in the price of ales; and at the present time, when the prices of the best hops are from £25 to even per cwt., instead of from £5 to £10 per cwt., as in ordinary years, it is difficult to see how 34s. and 36s. ales can be brewed at profit. But there is one other point to which I am anxious to refer. It has been assumed all along by the prosecution that in the manufacture of beer the intermixture of water with it after fermentation is illegal. Now it is not the practice of the brewer to add water after fermentation ; but he is perfectly at liberty to do so if he thinks proper, and there are occasions when it may be desirable, with view to the improvement of the fermentation and the yeasfc, for the brewer to ferment his beer at higher gravity than it is required to be when finished, and afterwards to reduce it to the strength at which he sends it out to his customers. With regard to Mr. Wanklyn, I think I have clearly shown the incorrectness of his assumption, and the untrustworthiness of the standard he has created for the purposes of his analyses. He cannot but admit that, given a sample of beer of which the actual original specific gravity is unknown, it is impossible to discover by any process of analysis whether it contains water added to it before or after fermentation. So far as I can see, the only fact which Mr. Wanklyn may possibly have established by his analyses of beer taken from so many different parts of Buckinghamshire, is that the fourpenny beers usually sold to the public throughout that county are all of them pretty much of the same original specific gravity as those which he condemns on account of their not coming up to an arbitrary standard of his own invention. It is fortunate for the ends of justice that, in a case which was tried last week at Great Marlow, the intelligence of the magistrates saw through the fallacies of the method by which the analyst arrived at an erroneous conclusion, and they dismissed the case, with costs.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A Member of the Committee of the Country Brewers' Society.
Bucks Herald - Saturday 09 December 1882, page 3. 

I assume the 34 shilling and 36 shilling beers referred to are Ordinary Mild and Ordinary Bitter. The gravity of 1043º to 1048º seem perfectly reasonable, as the beers were being sold in rural district.

Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1913 Boddington AK

In a little over a decade, there have been considerable changes to Boddington AK.

For a start, 4º have been shaved off the gravity. Though a slight increase in the degree of attenuation means that the ABV isn’t all that much lower.

The recipe has become more complicated than the base malt and invert sugar of 1901. Two new elements have been added: flaked maize and caramel. Due to the vagueness of the description in the brewing record, I have no real idea what the type of sugar was used. I’ve just guessed it was something like No. 2 invert.

There’s been a big reduction in the hopping rate: down from 8 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt to a mere 3.21 lbs. This is reflected in a big fall in the bitterness level, down from 43 to 23. As usual, loads of different hops were used: English from the 1909, 1910, 1911 and 1912 harvests, and Poperinge from1911. The dry hops were English from 1911 and 1912, and Californian from 1911.

1913 Boddington AK
pale malt 8.25 lb 86.66%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 10.50%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.25 lb 2.63%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.02 lb 0.21%
Strisselspalt 125 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1042
FG 1011
ABV 4.10
Apparent attenuation 73.81%
IBU 23
Mash at 155º F
Sparge at 163º F
Boil time 125 minutes
pitching temp 61.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)


Tuesday, 5 July 2022

TGL 7764

Beer style guidelines weren't invented by the BJCP. The DDR beat them by a couple of decades. With TGL 7764. Which pre-dates the BJCP by a couple of decades.

The big difference being, that breweries in the DDR had to stick to them. While breweries in the USA could do what the fuck they liked,

Why not honour these groundbreaking style definitions? What about having a festival of beers brewed according to the TGL 7764 definitions? There would be plenty of room for interpretation, as only OG, ABV, colour, rate of attenuation, etc. are fixed.

Here's a brief overview of the styles:

If anyone is interested, I can publish the full specs.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Beer and water

I have to thank Gary Gillman for passing this newspaper article on to me. It's about an adulteration case brought in 1882. One whcih could have had huge implications for brewers and publicans, had it gone the wrong way.

Supt. Willam Sargant had gone to the Clayton Arms and ordered a pint of beer. He really was that vague in his order, not specifically asking for Bitter, Mild or another type of beer. As he paid 2d for his pint, the chances are it was Ordinary Mild. After being served his pint, Sargant asked for a jug because he wanted to send it to the County Analyst.

The landlord not only gave him a jug, but also three bottles to put the beer into. Very cooperative, in fact. Which does imply that the landlord didn't think tyhat he anything to fear. One of the bottles was sent to the County Analyst, Mr. Wanklyn.

Wanklyn analysed the beer and calculated that the OG was 1044.8º. And concluded that the sample was three parts beer and one part water. He doesn't seem to have been very well acquainted with brewing, because he assumed that to be considered beer, something had to have an OG of at least 1060º. So he assumed that a beer of 1044.8º must have been watered down from 1060º.

How on earth could Wanklyn make such a crap assumption? Because he was basically using the same method as he did for detecting watered milk. As milk has a generally consistent makeup, checking the water content is a perfectly valid method. But with beer, which can be brewed at a variety of gravities, it's less than useless to assume that it must have started out at a minimum of 1060º.

Wanklyn was very confident in his assumption. He refused to call the sample beer and kept referring to it as "beer and water". He rather rashly claimed that beer was never brewed as weak as 1044.8º.

"Isn’t there more water in some kinds of beer than others? — Oh, a great deal. There are very strong beers and weaker beers ; but this is weaker than the weakest beer I ever met with."
Bucks Herald - Saturday 09 December 1882, page 7.

Now even I know, almost 150 years later, that he was talking bollocks. There were plenty of beers being brewed at gravities below 1050º. As this table shows.

Beers with an OG below 1050º 1878 - 1885
Year Brewer Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1878 Adnams AK Pale Ale 1044.3       11.67 2.82
1878 Adnams IA Mild Ale 1044.3       11.67 2.67
1878 Adnams XX Mild Ale 1048.5       8.57 2.79
1882 Whitbread FA Pale Ale 1048.8 1015.0 4.47 69.32% 13.00 3.06
1880 Chapman AK Pale Ale 1045.4 1005.5 5.28 87.80% 10.00 2.17
1878 Tetley K ? 1042.9 1012.7 3.99 70.32% 2.00 0.35
1878 Tetley X Mild  1044.3 1013.3 4.10 70.00% 4.76 0.77
1878 Tetley X1 Mild  1048.5 1011.1 4.95 77.14% 6.23 1.16
1885 Kirkstall AK Pale Ale 1049.9       12.42 2.01
1885 Kirkstall L Mild 1049.3       5.67 1.20
1879 Younger, Wm.  T Table Beer 1030 1005 3.31 83.33% 6.67 0.89
1879 Younger, Wm.  50/- Ale 1036 1007 3.84 80.56% 6.92 0.95
1879 Younger, Wm.  S 50/- Ale 1042 1012 3.97 71.43% 2.94 0.55
1879 Younger, Wm.  H 60/- Ale 1039 1010 3.84 74.36% 2.94 0.51
1879 Younger, Wm.  H 60/- Ale 1040 1004 4.76 90.00% 6.25 1.06
1879 Younger, Wm.  2XP IPA 1046 1009 4.89 80.43% 9.00 1.94
1879 Younger, Wm.  X Mild 1044 1010 4.50 77.27% 7.22 1.41
1879 Younger, Wm.  S3 Stout 1032 1011 2.78 65.63% all spent hops  
1879 Younger, Wm.  S3 Stout 1043 1010 4.37 76.74% 4.71 0.86
1885 Thomas Usher IP IPA 1047 1013 4.50 72.34% 8.00 1.61
1885 Thomas Usher 60/- B Ale 1041.5 1015 3.51 63.86% 5.00 0.92
1885 Thomas Usher 40/- B Ale 1030 1011 2.51 63.33% 5.00 0.66
1884 Mew Langton FA Pale Ale 1049.9 1005.5 5.86 88.89% 10.00 2.09
Adnams brewing record held at the brewery.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/048.
Chapman brewing record held at the Oxfordshire Records Office, document number 833/A10/2.
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archives, document number WYL756/25/ACC1903.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/28.
Thomas Usher brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/1/1.
Brewing record held at the Isle of Wight Record Office, document number ML/44/1.

I went for below 1050º as there are just way too many beers with gravities below 1060º.

The defence had a very simple way of proving the beer hadn't been watered: they got the George Brakspear, who brewed the beer and the excise man who had checked the gravity to testify. They confirmed that the beer had been brewed at 1046º. Near enough the gravity calculated by Wanklyn.

To finally put the boot in they got a more prestigious analyst, Edmund Southby, to testify. He declared that Wanklyn's "standard" was totally arbitrary and not used by anyone other than Wanklyn himself. At which point the case was dismissed.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Reminder of my new books

In case you hadn't noticed, this week I published two new books..

 The first is about Berliner Weisse.

 Buy your copy now!

The second is a compilation of travel reports. Which, based on previous books of this sort, I doubt expect to shift many copies. Or any copies, for that matter. It is in full colour, if that tempts you.

 Buy this wonderful book!


Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.


DDR Dunkles

When I was hanging around in the DDR in the 1980s, I mostly only came across a few styles of beer. Helles, Pilsner and the occasional Bock. And in Berlin, Berliner Weisse.

Other types of beer did exist. I know that both from label images and from the DDR standards for beer. The standards document, TGL 7764, is wonderfully useful for seeing the full diversity of beers brewed. Even though, I might add, I never saw most of them.

DDR beer styles 1987 - 1990
Type OG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation CO2 Content Isohumulon Content EBC colour
  % % % % min. Mg/l  
Dunkel (Einfachbier) 5.7 - 6.2 1.84 55 - 65 0.35 3 - 11 min 79
Alkoholfreies Bier 6.5 - 7.0   10 - 15 0.42 22 - 28 max 12
Weissbier 7.0 - 8.0 2.90 min 75 0.60 nothing specified 9 - 15
Extra 8.5 - 9.0 3.41 min 75 0.45 22 - 34 max 12
Hell 9.5 - 10.0 3.82 min 75 0.40 16 - 26 max 14
Edel-Bräu Hell 10.5 - 11.0 4.23 min 75 0.42 16 - 28 max 14
Dunkel (Vollbier) 10.0 - 10.5 4.02 min 75 0.40 16 - 26 min 79
Doppel-Karamelbier 11.7 - 12.2 0.63 - 1.5 nothing specified 0.42 3 - 10 min 93
Schwarzbier 11.7 - 12.2 4.12 60 - 70 0.42 20 - 34 min 160
Deutsches Pilsner 10.5 - 11.0 4.23 min 75 0.40 22 - 34 max 12
Diabetiker-Pils 10.0 - 10.5     0.42 22 - 34 max 13
Lagerbier Hell 11.5 - 12.0 4.65 min 75 0.42 20 - 34 max 31
Lagerbier Dunkel 11.5 - 12.0 4.65 min 75 0.42 14 - 26 min 40
Lagerbier Spezial 11.5 - 12.0 4.65 min 75 0.42 20 - 34 max 31
Lagerbier Dunkel Spezial 11.5 - 12.0 4.65 min 75 0.42 14 - 26 min 40
Deutsches Pilsator 11.5 - 12.0 4.83 min 78 0.42 26 - 39 max 12
Deutsches Pilsner Spezial 11.5 - 12.0 4.83 min 78 0.42 26 - 39 max 12
Spitzenbier 12.0 - 12.5 4.86 min 73 0.45 28 - 40 max 18
Märzen 13.5 - 14.0 5.13 min 70 0.42 20 - 34 max 110
Weißer Bock oder Bockbier Hell 15.0 - 15.5 5.86 68 - 75 0.40 14 - 26 21 - 43
Dunkler Bock oder Bockbier Dunkel 15.0 - 15.5 5.62 65 - 72 0.40 10 - 25 min 83
Deutscher Porter 17.5 - 18.0 6.10 min 64 0.42 35 - 50 min 160
TGL 7764

The isohumulon content is pretty much the same as IBU. Which is interesting to know.

The sharp-eyed amongst you might have noticed that there were in fact three types of Dunkles: Dunkles Vollbier, Lagerbier Dunkel and Lagerbier Dunkel Spezial. Though the specs for the last two are identical.

I think that the odd Dunkles is still brewed in the former DDR. But they aren't very common. Schwarzbier seems to be the most popular type of Dark Lager in the East currently. Despite having been a very obscure style before 1990.

I'll finish with some lovely labels. You might notice something unusual about them. They come in a variety of colours. Usually, the colour of the label was specified in the standards. But not for Dunkles, leaving it a free for all.


Saturday, 2 July 2022

Let's Brew - 1913 Boddington XXX

The only Boddington Mild to retain its 1901 name was XXX. Though it had lost 7º in gravity. Don’t ask me why it hadn’t become BBB.

It might look impressively strong for a Mild to modern eyes. But in London it would only have counted as a single X. A base-level Mild.

Other than the introduction of flaked maize, not much has happened to the grist. Still mostly base malt. Just a tiny bit less of it. The sugar is a pure guess. It’s most likely some type of invert. I’m pretty sure about that. Pretty sure, but I could be totally wrong.

I find it odd that the three Mild recipes, while pretty similar, are by no means identical. I suppose that, as Boddington didn’t parti-gyle, they didn’t need to use exactly the same recipe for each.

The hopping rate had fallen considerably, from 5.7 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt in 1901 to 3.6 lbs.

The hops were the same as in BB. Copper: English from the 1909, 1911, and 1912 harvests; Californian from 1911. Dry hops: English from the 1911 and 1912 seasons; Californian from 1911.

1913 Boddington XXX
pale malt 10.25 lb 87.23%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 8.51%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 4.26%
Cluster 155 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
Cluster dry hops 0.125 oz
Fuggles dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1052
FG 1017
ABV 4.63
Apparent attenuation 67.31%
IBU 27
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 155 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

Friday, 1 July 2022

Duttson's Brewing Materials

The Duttson name turns up quite a bit in brewing records. As does CDM. They must have had a large number of customers for their brewing sugars.

I came across an advert of theirs a while ago. I'm only just realising how useful some of the information is.

Is a brilliant Syrup containing 84 per cent. (calculated on the dry matter) of Dextrin and Maltose, which exist as an unfermentable combination; consequently it will be found very useful for increasing the Dextrin in Beers, giving them fulness and adding to their stability.

MALTO-DEXTRIN may also be used as a Priming, the 12 per cent. of fermentable matter which it contains is gradually split up during Cask fermentation, creating persistent condition.

C.D.M. is FREE from the acrid flavour of Caramel, therefore can be used to advantage in the production of Porter and Stout.

It is not fermentable, consequently can be added to Wort prior to fermentation. of high tinctorial power (112 lb. being capable of imparting as much colouring power as a quarter of best Black Malt). When used in suitable proportions as a black malt adjunct produces a soft mellow Stout or Porter, unobtainable when Black Malt alone is employed.


C.D.M. can be profitably employed; compared with Black Malt it yields a large extract — i.e., 256 lb. (the Excise equivalent for a quarter of Malt) gives an extract of 74 BBEWERS’ lb.

It is sent out in casks of 1 cwt. and 2 cwt.
"Brewing and Malting Practically Considered", by Frank Thatcher, 1898, The Country Brewers' Gazette, page 161.

Malto-dextrin is unfermentable. Except for when it is. Having a relatively small amount of fermentasble amterial which is released slowly sounds perfect for secondary conditioning. Was it the enzymes in the dry hops that broke it down?

I wonder if CDM was unfermentable in the same way? 1 cwt. (112 lbs) having the same colouring power as a quarter (336 lbs) of black malt. Obviously, some black malt character was still required as CDM was suggested to be used in conjunction with it, rather than as a replacement.